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New to Updating Online Content? Hacks to Make It Look Good!
Kate Gingold
/ Categories: The Sprocket Report

New to Updating Online Content? Hacks to Make It Look Good!

This is an update to "3 Tips for DIY Webmasters" dated 08/08/2011.

User-friendly content management websites and email services have been around quite a while now and it’s never been simpler. So you’ve just been “volunteered” to do it at your organization. How hard can it be? Just a few clicks to edit, add a photo and voila! Nifty new content! 

But where did all those extra characters in the text come from? Why are the column widths all messed up? Instead of tearing your hair out in frustration, here are a couple of hacks for avoiding these glitches.

Pasting Text from a Word Document 

Many of us compose Word documents ourselves or receive documents from others that we want to use. So we cut and paste the text website into our website or email editor, click on save, and then – yuck! Weird extra characters appear seemingly out of nowhere.

The problem is that when you cut and paste Word text, you are inadvertently bringing some unseen code with you. Many editors don’t react to that code in the same way that your Word program does, so it translates those characters as text. 

Here’s the hack:  

Some editors have a “Paste from Word” option that will strip the extra code out from Word and paste just your text. But you may find that even that option doesn’t completely eliminate the problem. 

To really clean up your Word content, paste it first into something like TextEdit if you are a Mac user or Notepad if you are a Windows user. The extra code will be removed and you can then cut-and-paste it into your website or email editor. 

Remember that you are only pasting text now. Any links, bolding or other modifications to the text will need to be replaced. But that’s usually quicker than deleting out-of-place ampersands. 

Controlling Column Width 

One way programmers make today’s digital tools easy to use is to limit the options available. If your content doesn’t follow their style dictates, it will not look the way you expect. One common situation happens when you add a photo and the text gets all messed up. 

Here’s the hack: 

Learn the pixel measurement for your content’s space. Check the tutorials for your chosen email, web and mobile template – they will provide dimensions and suggestions. 

Once you have that information, edit your photos and images to fit their guidelines. The photos you take on your phone usually have way too many pixels, but you can resize them with editing tools on your phone, on your computer or with an online tool. Save the modified photo with a new name and then upload to your webpage as usual. 

There is always someone to whom tips like these are new, but they will soon be second-nature. If you still need a little more assistance, feel free to contact us. We're happy to help.

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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